This house was built in 1907 by a man named Caruthers. He was a good friend of e e cummings and his brother. It is said that each of the brothers used this as a writing retreat. There are three structures - the main house where we are and two smaller cabins up the hill. The smallest of the two is where the writing took place. There is no direct lighting anywhere, (which I love) but there a few lamps in strategic places like the bathrooms and bedsides and end tables. At night, all of the light on the porch where we sit to talk and drink and smoke comes from tea lights on the rail around the screened porch and a couple of hanging lamps. The house is painted that green that everyone seemed to prefer during the early 20th century. There is no TV, only a local radio station that plays classic rock and takes a break every hour to broadcast a few lines of AP news and then tells all the local news and goings on around town. I love it here.
Chad took us on a beautiful ride through the eastern slope of the White Mountains today, and we lunched on the porch of The Mount Washington Hotel overlooking Mt. Washington. It's one of those grand old hotels that are so rare these day. The foliage is still green, but the views are breathtaking and awesome in a spiritual way. We saw a young black bear making is way across the Swift River as we drove through the beautiful monntains. I have thought a great deal about Clint but only had a couple of moments when tears welled in my eyes. He loved the majesty of mountains but was not that crazy about motoring around in them. I am finding a kind of peace that I pray I'll be able to take home with me. As afraid as I was of the distance, it has become a source of healing and hope. I am so thankful that Clint was able to come up here last August. He just loved it and was so proud of Chad and Gretchen for buying it. I feel that presence here, and it it good.
I've thought often of John this day, about how much he loved these mountains and how he took so much pride in his ability to hike them, even after he knew he was dying. I am happy in my heart that he had the opportunity to come back for one last New England hike before his cancer showed him down to a crawl. I feel very close to him here, and I now have a greater understanding of the pull this place had on him. I think Gretchen and Chad feel the same pull.
Later. It is frustrating when two people who love each other have a hard time understanding one another. Tonight, Gretchen and I came too close to a fight to suit me. She thinks Poppy's knee operation was the cause of his death. She thinks that if he had skipped that surgery, he would in fine health. She was unable to hear me when I told that liver disease killed him. If he had quit drinking 25 years ago when John Wells told him to because he had signs of early cirrhosis, his liver would have healed itself. He chose to continue to drink and the result was exactly what John predicted. She cannot understand that if his liver had been healthy, his knee surgery would have probably gone great. She thinks that all the I&Ds he had caused much of his trouble, when in fact they were done to help drain the poison in his system that was there because his immune system was ruined because his liver was shot to hell and he had no platelets. Not to mention the hundreds of doses of antibiotics he had to take to fight off the infections. If he had normal platelets and all his other lab work was normal, his blood would have clotted normally instead of pooling in the wound and creating the perfect breeding ground for any germ that came along and needed a place to set up housekeeping. It's all complicated, but it all also boils down to the fact that he knew he was killing himself with alcohol. He admitted it to me and to his doctors. I stopped trying to get him to quit about 3 years ago, when he said to me in the sweetest voice in the world, "Darlin', I just enjoy it so much." I love Gretchen too much to get crossed up with her over this. I need her and she needs me, and we will both be better if we just let this subject go. I never want to fight with my family.
I wasn't having a good day anyhow, and I was glad when everyone else went to a party down the road. I need this quiet. I don't know what caused it, but I was off about a half step all day. We had a crazy but fun day. Honey threw up on my bed, so we had to go to the laundromat. It was also recycling at the dump day, so off we went - Gretchen and Kristy and me - with all those dirty clothes and a bin full of recycling, plus the three dogs. And I had my first experience of, well, you can't call it dumpster diving, it's more like finding stuff on the ground at the dump that you want. Before I could get out of the car, Kristy had put a painted blue chair (complete with pads) in the back where the trash had been! I spotted a little teacart for my rust garden. So, I have had my first experience with what I guess would be called "cruising" the dump! Then we drove into town to do all sorts of errands and came home without several things we had meant to buy. I left my Rogaine in Macon, and can't remember to buy any, another example of me getting in the way of my own healing. My hair WILL fall out if I don't use it. I feel so discombobulated. My head hurts, but I am nice and warm with all three dog in my bed. I miss Clint so much at this minute, I feel as though I could break in half. Oh, what fun he would have had with my prize from the dump. He would have taken great delight in telling his country club friends about his wife patrolling the dump for little treasures!